The Writer They Call Tay (awanderingbard) wrote,
The Writer They Call Tay

Cabin Pressure Ficlets

Two short fics, written for memes.

Title: Culinary Delights
Characters: Martin, Douglas, Arthur
Rating: G
Word Count 415
Summary: The perils of Arthur with an idea and a microwave.
Author's notes: Written for joonscribble who gave me the prompt of 'microwave popcorn'

"Hullo, chaps! I made you a snack!"

Douglas and Martin were presented with a large bowl of... something. They looked at each other, both silently asking the other if they knew what it was. They both came to the conclusion that they didn't, then had a brief argument with their eyes as to who was going to ask and risk hurting Arthur's feelings. Martin, as usual, lost.

"It looks... uh, what is that?" Martin asked.

Arthur's enthusiasm was undampened. "Popcorn!" he announced. "I'm practicing. I thought, you know how we show films and stuff when we fly?"

"Oh, is that what those grainy, out of sync things on the wall are?" Douglas asked. "I always thought they were cries of help from some sort of advanced lifeform, hoping we'll pull over and give them a lift."

"We do need a new DVD player," Martin agreed. "Remember when it got stuck and just kept repeating 'murder! murder!' over and over again for twenty minutes?"

"That was brilliant!" Arthur said. "It was like being haunted by a ghost! A ghost of a murdered person. Anyway, I thought, since when you go to a proper cinema you get popcorn, maybe we could offer popcorn here too, so I'm practicing."

"Yes, making popcorn can be tricky," Douglas said. "Hard as a soufflee, so I'm told."

Martin ducked his head, hiding his smile from Arthur. "So, what exactly happened here?" he asked, gesturing to the black mess in the bowl.

"Oh, well you know you're supposed to listen for when the popping slows down to one to three seconds between each pop?" Arthur asked. Martin nodded. "Well... I didn't. So, it burned, a little."

"A little?" Martin said. "It looks like it was cooked in the fires of hell."

"That seems a rather a propos description of old Gertie's microwave," Douglas said, fondly.

"But, if you poke around a little, you can still find some okay ones," Arthur said, shuffling around in the bowl in demonstration and producing one that was only mildly crispy. "And I'm taking another go at it, so there will be more soon."

"Just out of curiosity, what 'go' is this?" Douglas asked.

"Um... sixteenth," Arthur said. "But I'm getting better. I didn't have to use the fire exstinguisher on this one."

"Speeaking of which..." Martin said. "Do you smell smoke?"

There was a brief silence as all three men sniffed the air. Then Arthur ran out of the flightdeck, looking vauguely like a muppet and Martin lunched for the satcom to inform ATC that they would need to divert immediately.

Title: Citrus
Characters: Martin, Douglas
Rating: G
Word Count 633
Summary: Martin fills in for a missing member of Douglas's pub quiz team.
Author's notes: Written for aelfgyfu_mead who gave me the prompt of 'Martin coming out on top'.

Martin stepped into the pub. He promptly tried to step out of it again, coming to a sudden, crystal clear revelation that this was A Very Bad Idea. It was too late. Douglas had already spotted him.

"Martin!" he greeted him, with a hard slap to the back.

"I-I really shouldn't have come," Martin said, trying to leave again. "I don't think this is my thing."

"Of course it's not, but all you have to do is sit there and say nothing," Douglas said. "We just need one more player to qualify as a team. You just have to sit at our table."

Martin looked over to the table, where the members of Douglas's pub quiz team sat. They looked like just the sort of people Martin would be terrible around. Not that he was particularly unterrible around anyone.

"Couldn't you have asked Arthur?" Martin said.

"I could certainly have," Douglas replied. "But as I mentioned, the requirements are to sit and say nothing, neither of which our fearless steward is particularly skilled at. If you don't know the answer, you won't say the answer. Arthur would answer, even if he didn't know the answer. He would be unable to not answer."

"So I'm basically just stupid enough," Martin said.

"No, you're just smart enough," Douglas said. "Look on the bright side. Besides, this is the championship. There's a £25 pound prize. If we beat those bloody know-it-all firemen, we split even."

"There's five team members," Martin pointed out. "That's only five quid each."

"And Martin, could you or could you not use five quid?" Douglas asked, enticingly.

Martin sighed and followed Douglas to the table. He was introduced, and immediately received a chorus of 'oi!'s' that gave him the distinct impression Douglas had spoken about him, and what he said had not been very complimentary. Martin forced a smile and took a seat.

The quiz began soon after, and Martin spent most of it in agony. It was too loud and he didn't know a single answer. There were a couple of rounds where each team member was asked a question and Martin did his best, but if it wasn't about aeroplanes, he didn't know about it. The only question he knew the answer to was about wind currents, and Douglas gave the answer before Martin could open his mouth.

Then the last question came. The teams were tied and this was the breaker.

"All right, bit of an odd one, this," the quizmaster said. "'Which fruit-bearing trees are evergreens?' Christ, Tom, d'ju write this one?"

'Tom' shrugged.

Both teams were conferring; Douglas's team arguing furiously with one another. Martin opened his mouth several times, but couldn't interject. Finally, he gave up, and just shouted the answer over everyone, too excited to stop himself.


The room came to a dead silence. Douglas was shooting daggers at him.

"I gave you two instructions," he began.

"And the championship goes to 'Veni, Vidi, Whisky'!" the quizmaster shouted.

Suddenly, Martin was in a scrum with three large men, all trying to hug him at the same time.

Douglas was not part of the scrum. He was staring at Martin as though he'd never seen him before. "Martin," he said, strangely calm amid the cacaphony of noise. "You answered a question correctly. When you needed to. And it wasn't about aeroplanes."

"Nine years in a shared house with agricultural students," Martin managed to get out, between gasps for breath. The scrum had moved on to celebrating with the rest of Veni, Vidi, Whisky's supporters. "I've picked up a few things."

Douglas cracked a smile. A proper, actual smile. Not a sarcastic one, not a pitying one, not an evil one. An actual, real smile.

"Congratulations, Martin," he said. "You did something right."

Martin laughed. "I did, didn't I? Listen, I don't suppose you'd be grateful enough to give me first crack at the cheese tray next flight?"

"Let's not get carried away."'
Tags: fandom: cabin pressure, length: ficlet, rating: g

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